Early in 2010, lions killed four people and over a hundred livestock in Mbire district, northern Zimbabwe, an area bordering a complex of protected wildlife areas of global conservation importance. The events prompted a local outcry, prominent media coverage, and even calls for the translocation of people to safer areas (The Herald 11.1.2010, 23.1.10, 27.3.2010, ZimEye.org 17.1.10, 22.1.10). Government agencies also responded to this apparent human–wildlife conflict. The Mbire Rural District Council (RDC), the local authority in wildlife management, shot ten lions and lifted a moratorium on the hunting of female lions. The central government’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) more than doubled the RDC’s annual lion hunting quota. But unlike these government bodies, local people did not see the attacks only as a human–wildlife conflict. For them, the lion attacks were also meaningful in a different way, signifying a political problem of a much larger magnitude. As local government in Mbire is highly dependent on wildlife exploitation, they did not see the lion attacks independently of the changing governance arrangements in Mbire district.
- natural-resource management
- indirect rule